DIY Streets redesign workshop to involve local community

The environmental charity Sustrans has launched a project, DIY Streets, which aims to give residents the chance to redesign their own streets through simple modifications to make them safer and more attractive places. Senior project officer Kieran McSherry has held meetings with Jesmond residents to discuss streets and areas in Jesmond that pose a problem for pedestrians, residents and cyclists alike and gave a presentation on what DIY Streets is all about and how it has been implemented in other parts of the country such as London and Oxford.

It has been stressed that the project is not about enforcing laws on drivers or increasing the number of cyclists but instead introducing simple yet effective modifications that will make the roads and streets safer, more pleasant and more attractive. Such measures include changing the road surface or planting trees to create a mini obstacle course, with the aim of encouraging drivers to slow down.

Throughout the meetings various streets and areas were mentioned by residents as particularly dangerous or troublesome: problems with traffic and parking on Acorn Road and St Georges’ Terrace were both mentioned with other crossings along Osborne Road and the large “Blue House” roundabout at the top of the Great North Road, which many believe is treacherous.

The project is currently in the very early stages of planning and the next step will be to shortlist the streets and areas in need of improvement, then in January Sustrans hopes to run design workshops for the community to decide on what changes they want to be made. The implementation of these designs is hoped to begin in March or April 2014.